With Fall, comes cool breezes, grounded leaves, and a renewed interest in pumpkins. And with the season, October is finally here. Yards will soon be decorated with skeletons, tombstones, and ghosts. Children will beg their parents to buy them a new costume for this year. Radio stations will soon play the Halloween classics, “Thriller,” “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” and “Somebody’s Watching Me”. Some Christians look forward to this time of year, and with good reason. Aside from costume parties, horror movies, and tasty treats, Halloween provides an opportunity to give back to the Lord and those in the community. Is that why you celebrate?
Do you know why you celebrate Halloween? As with most things in life, as children we do what we are told. If our parents believe in God, we do too. If our parents celebrate a holiday, we do as well. We only begin thinking more independently as we get older, however, some adults never take the time to cultivate this skill. They don’t stop and ask themselves, “Why am I doing this?”
Yet, if we are to be more like Jesus every day, then this is a question we need to ask constantly. If you’re a believer celebrating Halloween this year, do you know the reason for your celebration? If not, here are 5 questions to consider before celebrating Halloween.
1. What does the Bible say about Halloween?
Whenever a believer has a question for God, we can pray, but we may find a faster answer in the Word. Thankfully, this is an easy question to answer - nothing. Halloween was not a holiday when the Bible was written, but in time became a day celebrated by various peoples in various ways. Today that includes Christians. The day, however, carries no spiritual significance for Christ-followers. There are believers who celebrate All Saints’ Day, which follows just a day later. Halloween specifically, is more of a cultural phenomenon for the modern believer. In America, people find various consumer ways to celebrate the time of year, visiting amusement parks, movie theaters, and of course, going trick-or-treating.
These are not explicit ways God has called us to live, but these options are available to us. As Christians then, we get to decide how we respond to culture.
“‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything builds up. No one is to seek his own good, but the good of the other person.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
In Paul’s own words, not everything permissible is helpful. Not everything in our culture will serve our faith, but there are things that can be both permissible and helpful. Halloween is one. We can ensure Halloween is useful for our faith by aiming to do something for God and for others.
2. Why am I celebrating Halloween?
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
If we are reflective and self-aware, this is one question that should come naturally to us. The Bible makes clear that what we do in life, from the extraordinary to the mundane, we should do so with God in mind. Halloween is more significant than drinking and eating, in that the day marks a holiday for America and other countries. As Christians, there is not a single way to celebrate. Some churches host community events, others plan for community outreach. Some Christians celebrate by giving out candy to children, others celebrate the horror genre. And still, some do not celebrate at all. Without a set of biblical guidelines, churches and individuals get to make their own decisions.
The question every person needs to consider for themselves is why they are celebrating. The Bible doesn’t mention Halloween because such a day never existed then. Not only that, but Halloween is a secular holiday. This does not mean Christians shouldn’t celebrate. There are other days we observe like Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Independence Day, just to name a few. Even with these days, we should consider why we are celebrating.
Our goal, if celebrating, should be first to know why. Some people enjoy the community aspect that comes with a day like Halloween. They take initiative with any opportunity to serve. Others see the day as a chance to spend quality time with loved ones, even if watching a scary movie after dark. Both are examples of loving others, and in turn, glorifying God. Whatever your reason, make sure the end result is the same - pointing yourself and others back to God.
3. What do others think about Halloween?
“Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:7)
One issue in our current culture is that we often carry ideas and beliefs that go unchallenged. While we may believe something currently that is true, hearing the thoughts of other people can help affirm or deny that belief. We don’t know everything, even if we think we do.
Fools fall prey to their own ignorance, but the wise benefit from the knowledge of others (Proverbs 18:2). Make yourself wise by getting insight from others. Talk to people who like you, choose to celebrate Halloween. Find out their reasoning. Are they seeking to glorify God in some way, or is there another purpose? Likewise, talk to fellow believers who don’t celebrate Halloween. Inquire about their reasonings, and you could possibly have your mind changed or change theirs.
4. How can I serve others?
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul teaches us that everything we do should be to honor God. Adding to this thought, Jesus reminds us we should maintain lives in service to others. The greatest commandments according to Jesus are to love God with our entire being, and then to love others as ourselves. When celebrating Halloween then, who are we serving besides ourselves?
Halloween offers a number of different ways to serve your neighbors. How you choose to serve is up to you, but if celebrating a holiday, why not do it with someone. Taking care of yourself is not a sin, in fact, without knowing how to take care of yourself, there’s no way you can effectively serve others. That being said, we are called to love others as ourselves. Are holidays occasions that you use to serve others? Take Thanksgiving and Christmas for example, are you alone during those days or do you make time to be with other people?
Consider doing something similar for Halloween. Spending time alone with God is never a bad idea, but this holiday provides the perfect chance to serve the community, and even find someone to talk to about Christ.
5. What do I hope to get out of this?
“For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
Why do we do the things that we do? Paul wondered this about himself. Part of the reason we do what we do is the reward factor. We eat because our hunger is satisfied. We drink to quench our thirst. We communicate with others to fulfill our need for connection. In order to make Halloween a successful worship experience, consider what you hope to get out of the holiday.
Are you looking to strengthen your relationship with God? Do you want to find new ways to serve the community? Are you trying to step outside of your comfort zone?
Knowing what result you hope for ensures you make a plan to get there. Halloween can be a scary spook-filled day. However, those scares can be turned into something beneficial for you and your community. Get creative and make this celebration one to remember.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/evgenyatamanenko
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo.